Male and Female Mid-term Exam
The mid-term exam will be two hours long and take place in class on Tuesday, December 6,
2011. There are two parts to the exam. Part I is based on concepts we have covered in the course.
Eight concepts from the list below will appear on the exam, you must answer five. Each will be
graded out of 5 points: 2 for the definition, 2 for stating the significance of the concept in terms of
the text in which it is found and the wider context of the course, 1 pt for the identification of an
author or text in which the concept was discussed. Note: You must use a different text or author
for each concept. You must use full sentences in response to each concept.
Part II requires you to answer one of the three questions provided below in an essay style format.
Two of the three questions listed below will appear on the exam, you will answer one for 25 pts.
Your answer should provide a thesis statement and three arguments and/or evidence in support of
your thesis. You should draw on the literature in the course in support of your position.
Part I (25 points) -> significance, meaning in the context of the article
Dominant Ideology: Judith Lorber, “Believing Is Seeing: Biology as Ideology”
-set of interrelated belief that describes how the world works and prescribes how it
should. This appears natural to us, but nothing is natural about it. Reinscribes and backs
up the status quo and opposes change.
Significance: dominant ideology reinscribes and backs up the status quo and
Eugenics: Potential Readings David M. Buss, “ Psychological Sex Differences through
Robert Sapolsky, “Testosterone Rules”
-theory that natural selection can occur through conscious efforts to improve human
population, by decreasing/preventing production of ‘unfit’ or increasing health and
fitness of reproductive population
Alberta introduced a sterilization program -> sterilized men and
women who appeared to be mental instable
First nation women lived differently then the white women of this
generation (did not believe in god, multiple sex partners, etc.) so
they were targeted quite normally to be sterilized
First nations = 2% of canada’s pop. at that time, 20% of who
were sterilized, were first nations
Anthropocentrism: regarding man as the most important and central factor in the
Penis Envy: Sigmund Freud, “Femininity,” (check website)
penis envy -> around the age of 3 – 5 -how infant becomes girl- since neither girl nor mother has penis, girl is angry at her first
love, mother, for this and identifies with father. Desire for penis must transform to a wish
for a baby.
Significance: Gender is not a natural acquisition but a long process of struggle, loss,
and constant instability. Therefore it can be concluded that it is ever changing. Also,
penis envy may instead equal envy of the promise of patriarchal power and privilege in
a male dominated society. Therefore it reinforces male dominance and power.
Patriarchy: Michael Kimmel, “Masculinity as Homophobia: Fear, Shame, and Silence in
the Construction of Gender Identity,” [KIT].
->manhood of the traditional aristocracy, the class that embodied the virtue of liberty
Intersexed: “Affronting Reason” Cheryl Chase
Intersexed children always assigned to male or female
Being born with both sexual organs (enlarged clitoris)
Humanly possible – in our culture socially unacceptable
born with an xx chromosomes or xy chromosomes, who are born as true hermaphrodites,
born with male and female sex organs
Significance: intersexed challenges the idea that there are simply just two genders
(male and female).
Normalization: picodian term
Hierarchies of gender:
Performativity of gender: Potential readings Anne Fausto-Sterling, “The Five Sexes:
Why Male and Female are Not Enough” pp. 20-26 [Reader]; Cheryl Chase “Affronting
Butlers’ account of the formation of gender subjectivity resists any account of the origin
or source of our gendered characteristics in either biological or psychological
structures. She argues that through our gender performances we can choose to enact our
gender subjectivities and subvert gender constructs. The human body in Butler’s work is
seen as a product. It becomes a signifier of gendered identities. There is no sense that
there is anything about the body itself that is playing any role in the production or
femininity or masculinity. These become bodily styles inscribed on a docile body—on a
blank surface. Through her work on performative understanding of gender, Butler
appears to have removed any necessary link between masculinity, femininity and what
are commonly termed male and female bodies. Judith Butler’s Queer Theory
- the choice to enact our gender subjectivities and subvert gender construction. There is
no link between masculinity and femininity and what is referred to as “male” and “female” bodies.
- human body = product, a signifier of gendered identities
Michael Kimmel, “Masculinity as Homophobia: Fear, Shame, and Silence in the
Construction of Gender Identity,” [KIT].
-> Shelley Pacholok
Significance: hegemonic masculinity reinforces dominant norms of masculinity, and
ostracizes those who deviate from the norm. It also helps to explore the measure of
others, and power relations between men and women.
← -> dominant norms of masculinity
← dominant masculine norms, values & beliefs = powerful, better/professional,
good jobs, fearless, lack emotion, rational, sexually aggressive, heterosexual, physically
dominant, white, middle/upper class
← -> concept to help explore the measure of others, and power relations between
men and men and as well as to measure the disparities between man and man, cultural
norms of masculinity
powerless in our society include: gays
- concept of dominant norms of masculinity used to explore the power relations and the
measures of others. Cannot exist unless there are subordinated others.
-hegemonic masculinity = image of masculinity of those men who hold power, which has
become the standard in psychological evaluations, sociological research, and self-help
and advice literature for teaching young men to become ‘real men’
hegemonic definition of manhood – man in power, a man with power & a man of power
Exaggerated Femininity: “It’s Part Of The Game”
women learn to emphasize their femininity in compliance with gender inequality oriented
to accommodate the male desire
organized around real or apparent compliance with gender inequality and is oriented to
accommodating the interest and desires of men